Pride at unveiling of piece about humankind and human spirit

A sculptor and artist has spoken of his pride at his latest work taking pride of place outside a railway station.

Ben Pearson and Jacob Chandler pose next to the statue at the unveiling ceremony in Birmingham
Ben Pearson and Jacob Chandler pose next to the statue at the unveiling ceremony in Birmingham

Jacob Chandler unveiled his latest work “One Giant Leap for Humankind” on the Eastern Plaza outside Birmingham New Street station on Sunday as part of the Birmingham 2022 Exhibition.

The 27-year-old from Telford said he was delighted to finally see his piece in place and spoke of what the aim of the piece was.

He said: “It’s really unbelievable and from the start, I had envisaged seeing it here, but I didn’t know how it would work with regards to the scale of the place, with the huge buildings, but it holds its own and has a decent presence.

“It’s all about moving humanity forward in every way so we build on the steps of people who came before us and, hopefully, laying the groundwork for the people who come after us.

“It was great working with Ben on this as he is a below-the-knee amputee and he’s doing incredible work and showing he’s not just a para-athlete, but someone who goes about his day to day activity and is just at the top of his game.

“I suffer with my own health, with colitis and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and I’d hidden it for years, but speaking to Ben and other para-athletes has shown me that you can be open about this and feel empowered.”

Ben Pearson spoke during the ceremony of how he lost his leg after complications following a leg break while playing Rugby and his own struggles to change his focus, but said it had been a positive experience for him.

He said he was very honoured to be part of the project and said it was very exciting to see the final work in place.

He said: “I think it’s really significant because it’s going to highlight disability and disability sport for everybody to see and, hopefully, it’s going to allow it to become a bit more mainstream as we don’t get a lot of the limelight.

“It’s 100 per cent about normalising disability and showing that you’re still a person and a human no matter what and it doesn’t change anything if you’re disabled or not.

“To be able to see this statue is amazing and I think Jacob has done an unreal job with it as it is amazing. I didn’t get to see the design all the way through, so it’s been a nice surprise to see it and I’m really proud of it.”

“One Giant Leap for Humankind” will be on display on the Eastern Plaza opposite All Bar One in Birmingham until September 5.

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